Count Your Blessings, Not Your Things

Count Your Blessings, Not Your Things

The concept that potential possibilities are worth more than physical possessions seems to be pretty obvious, but sometimes people tend to forget about it
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When I graduated from college, I moved back home with my parents to save money (ah yes, the perpetual millennial plight). I packed up my four years of college into the back of my Jeep, and made that final, milestone drive home. As I was unpacking in my childhood bedroom, it hit me: why do I have so much stuff? How, in my four years of being at college, did my possessions seem to quadruple? And why on earth did I ever think that I needed all of this? I had boxes of pointless junk laying around my bedroom for months, because I had nowhere to put any of it. Trying to fit all my clothes in the closet was completely hopeless. I had books piled on top of each other on shelves, and plastic bags full of makeup on the floor. After two months, it became too much.

I purged everything – I dug through my closet and pulled out items of clothing that I had once loved, but hadn’t worn in ages. Sun dresses, jeans, t-shirts, shoes, everything. By the end of it, I donated about ten garbage bags full of clothes. With the biggest project tackled, I moved on – makeup, books, old knick knacks. I tossed old, grimy makeup, piled unwanted books into a box to be donated, and sifted through various items that I had could have only been keeping for some lost sentimental reason.

When it was all good and done, I felt like I could finally breathe again. Six months later, I still get rid of anything I can to make room in my life – not for more things, but just for possibility. For space. Physical possessions have started to feel like weighted shackles chained to my ankles.

I don’t know why I ever thought I needed so much stuff. Sure – I’ll always love clothes, and shoes, and purses, and just treating myself to retail therapy in general. But an old college roommate of mine once said something to me, during a conversation in which we were talking about how much we both loved to travel, and it has stuck with me ever since. It went a little something like this: “I almost never go shopping, buy clothes or go out to eat – because every time I spend, I just think about where that money could have bought me a flight to.”

Ever since then, that’s how I think. Before I spend money on anything nonessential, I think about where that money could take me - and it has completely changed my spending habits.

That idea, combined with the anxiety that was created by having so much stuff, is what fueled my desire to get rid of a lot of it. I sold a lot of stuff that at one point I thought I “needed” – old phones, iPods, video games, camera equipment, clothes, jewelry. The concept that potential possibilities are worth more than physical possessions seems to be pretty obvious, but sometimes people tend to forget about it . And with each item I packed up and shipped off, I felt more and more weight being lifted. I’ve started to pay more attention to my blessings instead of my possessions, actively being thankful for everything good in my life that wasn’t grounded in a physical object.

Some people love the holidays, some people don’t. I happen to be one of those annoying people who starts listening to Christmas music in November. But even if you’re not exactly fond of the holiday spirit – make sure you look back on this past year (boy, wasn’t 2016 a doozy), and remember to count your blessings instead of your things.

I’m thankful for my loving family, my supportive, loyal friends, and for my adoring boyfriend. I’m thankful to be in good health, and I’m thankful for my three dogs, which bring joy into my life each and every day. I’m thankful for warm sunny days, the ocean, and holiday cheer. And I’m thankful for all the opportunities I have been and will be given.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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The Struggle of Taking Classes During the Summer

It can put a bit of a damper on summer fun

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To everyone reading: I hope you're having a nice, relaxing summer. Even if you're working I hope you can get a few days off to hang out with friends, go to the beach, and have some nice downtime. Not me. I am currently in the process of completing two four-week long summer classes. I'm taking them now to get ahead for next semester and to keep my overall schedule on track. It certainly isn't fun, but the reminder that it is only four weeks is what really keeps me going. If you are in the same boat as me, you'll relate to this list like no one else can; if you're not taking summer classes, don't let this list scare you, but use it to mentally prepare yourself for any you may have in the future.

1. Studying and homework

The homework isn't too bad with some summer classes just because you don't have time for a lot of intense projects. Still, since the class is so short you have to do some kind of homework pretty much every day. Make a schedule and spread it out so you don't get too behind.

2. Actually going to class

I am in two classes. One meets in person every day from 10 am to 11:45 am. The other is online. Let me be the first to say that getting up for class during the normal semesters is hard enough, but knowing my little brother gets to sleep in while I have to wake up early and go class is a real motivation suppressant.

I will say, though, it's kind of nice being on campus when it's basically empty.

3. No going out...

You'll probably be a little down because you might not be able to really go out at all during the time you're in class. For me, I go to lecture every morning, come home and do homework for that class, then do homework for my online class. I have some free time on the weekends, but I try to use those lecture-free days to study or work on papers.

4. But being super busy

Even though you might not be able to go out like a summer off, you'll be keeping yourself busy with all that super fun homework I mentioned.

5. Stress

Yes, summer classes can be a little stressful and it's pretty much all thanks to how fast-paced they are. Just do what I do: make a homework and project schedule as soon as you can and remind yourself how short it is.

Summer classes are not the worst thing in the world, and if you choose to take one at some point it won't be absolutely horrible. The nice thing about them is it's like ripping off a Band-Aid; it may be a little painful and annoying, but it's over so fast you don't suffer. Pick your class and professor wisely and get down to business; taking the class means you're one step closer to graduation!

So, to anyone else taking a summer class: good luck and you got this!

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